The Benefits of Hammocking

My Introduction to Hammocking

Last week my boyfriend picked me up, saying that he had an entire date planned for us. He does this every once and a while because he is sweet and likes surprising me which I of course love because I like surprises. Anyways we got in his car and he drove to the University of Idaho Arboretum which is pretty much a beautiful park on campus made out of a massive collection of plant species. It is probably the pride and joy of our campus; everyone loves it and visits it especially in fall after the leaves fall! The leaf piles around here are legendary.

Anyways, we pull up to the park and he finally tells me the plan: we are going to hammock in the Arb. I love hammocking for so many reasons: one, it is just relaxing, and two, there are so many health benefits!!

The main challenge was finding two trees that were big enough but not too big, and close enough but not too close…. Needless to say, we walked all around the park and finally found the perfect set of trees! This was really nice because we were walking through nature, exercising a little, and on a sort of scavenger hunt. The search was almost as fun and therapeutic as the hammocking. While we were setting up the hammock, we were being eaten alive by mosquitos. Pro tip: bring all-natural bug spray just in case or a light blanket for mosquito protection.

We stayed in that hammock for about an hour and a half just talking and laughing which was so fun and relaxing! He even brought fresh vegetable snacks which were a definite highlight as fresh cut veggies are a great way to hydrate! I highly suggest this as a date idea or a friend date idea. You and a bunch of friends could all bring hammocks and relax, laughing in the park together, or buy a hammock and go by yourself to relax and decompress. 

The Benefits of Hammocking

Let’s talk about some of the health benefits of hammocking!

Improved Sleep

1 – First off, I have heard of lots of studies that say that sleeping in a hammock can improve sleep quality, giving you more energy and a clearer mind throughout the day. While I am not going to be switching out my comfy bed for a hammock any time soon, I definitely have considered buying a hammock and taking a nice nap in one on rough days in which I need a pick me up. Be careful when taking naps though—you either have to take a 20 minute or 90 minute nap because 20 minutes cuts you off before you enter deep sleep and 90 minutes allows you to complete an entire REM cycle. Anything in between those amounts or beyond will leave you more groggy than rested. From personal experience, I find that a 90 minute nap can refresh me better than any other length. So, if you need a nap and have 3 hours, take your hammock and hang and nap for about an hour and a half! (If you are napping in the sun, please remember all-natural sunscreen!)

Relieved Joint Pressure

2 – Next, if you have a sore back or other joints, hammocking will help to relieve the pressure in those areas, allowing for some pain relief and potential healing. My friend recently injured her tailbone, hammocking is a great way to rest without feeling the pain in that area, allowing for actually deep rest and healing without exacerbating the problem. If you have sore joints, hammock whenever you have to sit for long periods of time if at all possible. I love sitting on my bed or a comfy chair when I work, but I always find that my lower back grows sore over time. A hammock allows me to work comfortably for long periods of time without hurting my back.

Reduced Congestion

3 – I have read that it can help reduce congestion. I believe this as my boyfriend has been sick for the past week or so with a cold; while we were hammocking he had no problems. I don’t know about you guys, but when I have a stuffed nose, sleeping is almost impossible! If sleeping or napping in a hammock during my colds helps me to sleep better, you best believe I will be taking advantage! Remember, we heal when we sleep, so good, deep sleep is important when we are sick or injured. 

Reduced Stress

4 – Now that we have sufficiently discussed hammocking and its physical benefits, let’s talk about its emotional benefits. Emotional Wellness is an extremely important part of Total Wellness. In my opinion, hammocking is one of the best places to meditate and refresh in times of stress or emotional distress. 

A Great Physical Escape

5 – Finally, hammocking is a great way to promote Environmental Wellness in many ways. One, you are taking time to enjoy our green spaces which will promote their protection. Two, you are going to a place that relaxes you which will benefit your health overall. Sometimes our living situations can be stressful, and, while it is always optimal to promote environmental wellness and create a place you love and feel safe in your own dwelling, there always exists a time when one needs to just escape. Take your hammock and go somewhere that will relax you and allow yourself to recharge. I know in college with roommates it can be necessary to leave the apartment or dorm for a few hours. This is a great way to find that escape in an environment that will allow you to recharge.

My New Mission: Hammock Once a Week 

I have made it my mission to have a hammocking hour at least once a week. I do not care if it is with friends or Alex or just myself. I want to take some time weekly to reap the health benefits of hammocking. The beauty of it is that it can never hurt to hammock for an hour or two—there are no negatives to hammocking! So make it happen!

They are sold on Amazon for a decent price! If you are inspired, here is the link to hammocks for sale on Amazon :).

If you are looking for more ways to relax your joints, muscles, and mind, read my article on detox baths! They are a great alternative or addition to weekly hammock hours!